Coffee growers on the Galápagos Islands achieve further sustainability credentials for Caravela

Caravela Coffee’s Supplier Farms located on the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, have achieved the Carbon Neutral International Standard.

The company is a UN Climate Neutral Now Participant and Certified Carbon Neutral organisation, that has been sourcing coffee from the Galapagos since 2016. Since then, the company says they have been committed to the conservation of the islands as they stand as a biodiversity sanctuary and a world Heritage Natural Site listed by UNESCO.

Caravela has been working with coffee growers in the Galapagos Islands, to bring technical expertise, training and support on best coffee growing practices through their Coffee Grower Education Program (PECA). During this time, Caravela has shared experience with partner farmers on how to improve the quality of their coffee through best harvesting and post-harvesting practices, as well as offering guidance on protecting the islands’ environment through agroforestry systems, optimal fertiliser usage, coffee pulp management, soil conservation and water treatment processes, among others, thus building-up on the traditional coffee production methodologies done in the islands.

The engagement with the coffee growers in the Galapagos Islands, plus the financial support of an international coffee roaster, in addition to the partnership with One Carbon World, enabled a carbon footprint assessment and third-party verification to be carried out at farm-level for 26 farmers with coffee farms in the Santa Cruz Island of the Galapagos Archipelago, covering the emissions and sequestration of on-farm activities related to the coffee-growing phase of the Caravela Coffee supply chain.

By measuring the company’s carbon footprint and carbon sequestration and following the third party verification, One Carbon World certifies that coffee growing conditions, practices and protocols used by these local farmers in the Galapagos Islands are climate positive, and result in an average net positive carbon sequestration agricultural activity of two tons of CO2e/Ha per year. Meaning that coffee growing practices of farmers associated with Caravela in Galapagos Islands are removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is being emitted.

Image: Caravela Coffee

Marina Caimiñagua, from Finca La Fortuna, one of the 26 coffee producers who are part of Caravela’s Galapagos supply chain, commented, “Here in the Galapagos, we don’t use herbicides and we only use the amount of fertilisation that the plant needs. We protect the environment by not using chemicals for the land, planting endemic plants, we have lots of them in the coffee fields, and they also protect the coffee trees. We also have timber trees, and they generate organic material that helps for the fertilisation of coffee trees and keeps them healthy. With these practices, this land has been exceptionally good to produce coffee”.

In such a biodiverse-sensitive archipelago, traditionally endangered by tourism and agriculture practices, the results of this assessment provide assurance of local farmers’ sustainable coffee growing practices and strengthens their commitment towards the protection of biodiversity and natural systems. This is one of the first verified coffee projects of this type in South America, setting the milestone for coffee production in environmentally vulnerable areas not only in Ecuador, but the rest of the planet.

The Galápagos Islands have been particularly affected by COVID-19 and its impact on local tourism. Therefore, this innovative project not only brings much-valued revenue (jobs, economic value to the island) but also unifies the commitment towards sustainability, the protection of biodiversity and the environment, and mitigation of the effects of climate change, says the company.

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